Shopify is the reference when it comes to ecommerce platforms and for good reason, there are now more than 600,000 active shops … a 20% growth in the last year alone!

At this rate, the Canadian giant is expected to become the number one paid platform this year and could even dethrone WooCommerce in the near future.

However, we see a big obstacle to their global domination: bilingualism / multilingualism.

That’s right, for some unknown reason, no official Shopify theme offers the option of having a bilingual shop! You got that right, even if it was possible in 1995 on AngelFire, in 2018 on Shopify, it is impossible to have a multilingual website … out of the box.

At Molsoft, we are certified Shopify experts since 2013 and our offices are located near Montréal, so I’ll let you guess how this feature affects us!

Over the years, we have had to find solutions for our customers. Here are the three best ones.

1- Multiple sites

The easiest solution is simply to have two or more sites in different languages.

Advantages: No penalty in terms of SEO, each site is very flexible, possibility to checkout in a different currency depending on the language of the site (we’ll talk about it in a future blog!)

Disadvantages: All the workload is multiplied (site construction, modifications, etc.), all costs are multiplied (Shopify monthly fees, app fees), special attention needs to be paid to the inventory level (since it’s often shared across all sites)

This solution is recommended for people with a big team, a big budget and for whom the SEO is ultra-important, as well as the possibility of checking out in foreign currency.

2- TRANSLATION APPS

Some translation apps do exist… and they usually do an honest job, at best. They are all a little different obviously, but here are the advantages and disadvantages that affect most of them.

Advantages: Inexpensive (around thirty dollars a month), some do a decent SEO job, easy to install (but not always to setup!)

Disadvantages: Tedious setup, some translate automatically with more or less conclusive results, the page reloads every time the user changes language, potential conflicts with the theme and / or other applications used, recurring monthly fees, variable support when problems arise

We recommend using an app to people looking for a quick solution without initial investment, who do not necessarily want to have a perfect store, who can live with some bugs and who are skilled enough to perform the necessary maintenance.

3- Modification of the source code

After many years of implementing the two aforementioned solutions on our customers’ shops, we realized that they did not meet the standards that a good portion of them set for their ecommerces. The majority of our customers wanted a simple solution to run a bilingual shop without having to worry about operating multiple sites in parallel. That’s it.

The modification of the source code is the result of these requests.

When editing a source code, we use the theme that the customer chooses, no matter which one, and we will manually edit all the code at the source.

Advantages: No external app, editable / translatable by the customer, no recurring monthly fees, no reloading when switching from one language to another, works with all Shopify themes

Disadvantages: SEO is prioritized for one language, the work can take up to a week to be completed (the website still remains online and usable during this period)

This is our most popular solution, we recommend it for people who want a stable, affordable, easy to use and permanent fix.

If a multilingual solution for your Shopify store is something that could work for you, all the information you need is available here (of course you can always contact us directly to discuss your needs)!